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Brady Tamera

Dr. Colombo

UWRT 1104

13 February 2017

Research Question: Are Current General Education Requirements a Waste of Time and Money?

Research Journal Entry #1


Kelly, Sean. The Purpose of General EducationThe Purpose of General Education. Harvard

University, 2010,

Main Claim:

And embodying these great works is nothing like learning the rules for living. It is,

instead, learning a way to see what is meaningful and worthwhile in a life. And that, I

believe, is what a general education could be for at its best. (Kelly 5).
Common courses can be capable of being better if it was focused more on the knowledge

we obtain on seeing what is significant and beneficial throughout life.

Summary of the Source:

This article is about someone who spoke at a university in China on general education. In the

article they talk about their personal experience with issues on general education as well as other

people's experiences. Kelly brings up Aristotle's views as well. The main point is raising the

importance that relevance in general education classes is still an issue today. Most people argue

that general education classes are in place to teach you how to be well rounded in the rules of

life. However this article leans more towards the classes being based around the significance and
beneficial values of life. The speaker also points out that this is a topic that many universities are

going back and forth about. They are raising the question as to what

general education requirements should be.(Kelly)

Evaluation of the Source:

This is a reliable and credible source. Sean D Kelly is an American Philosopher and also a

Professor at Harvard University. He is known for his expertise on various aspects of the

philosophical, phenomenological, and cognitive neuroscientific nature of human experience.

This source is still relevant today although this speech was given in 2010 this issue is an ongoing

topic today. Also this topic ties right into the research question that I am raising.

Important Quotations:

The exercise turns out to be rather

a philosophical one, since ones views about how one ought to be generally educated will

depend closely on ones views about what success in a life requires, what the

prerequisites for such success may be, and what role the college or university program

has in so preparing its graduates. (Kelly 1)

But the debate was not about what such a general education program should

consist in, as it typically is in America. Instead, the debate was about whether there

should be such a program at all. (Kelly 2)

Finally, learning the traditions of a culture is not learning the principles for how to live

it is much more interesting and wonderful than that. (Kelly 5)

The point is not just that learning to reason carefully and clearly is

a good thing, or that youll be able to pass some kind of exam more easily if you know

how to do it. The point is that learning to reason carefully and clearly is the essence of
what it is to be a human being, and so to live the best life possible for us we must be able

to master this ability. (Kelly 5)

Research Journal Entry #2


Seraphin, Catherine. General Education Requirements: What's the Point?General Education

Requirements: What's the Point?.CollegeXpress.Carnegie Communications.


Main Claim:

general education requirements are all about preparing students for the unknown. A

students interests can change, careers may advance, and new jobs may be createdall

situations where a foundational skillset and broad-based knowledge are necessary for

success. (Seraphin)
Often peoples preferences, Job choices, and overall career paths may change and for

changes like this in your life you will need to have studied broader courses than just what

you decided to major in, which is what common courses prepare you for.
Summary of the Source:

This article discusses the purpose of general education classes. The article talks about the

reasoning and the importance of general education classes. The most important reason that stood

out was unexpected life changes. This being because you never expect to lose your job or want to

change careers while you are still in college but that happens in real life and your next job may

not be the same area of study as your last. Seraphine says the purpose is to prepare you to gain

broad knowledge, learn intellectual and practical skills, understand cultural differences, evaluate

ethical consequences, and make connections across academic disciplines. (Seraphin) The article

also highlights that there are two different types of general education courses, with this

universities use different ones or a little bit of both.(Seraphin)

Evaluation of the Source:

This is a reliable source. Catherine Seraphin is the Digital Media Project Manager at Harvard

University, formerly the Assistant Editor, Online Specialist for Carnegie Communications.

Catherine graduated from Penn State University with a degree in journalism, a minor in English,

and course concentrations in business. This article also pulls in other universities inputs, this is

relevant today because the information she provides is linked to my research question as well as

a trending topic that students continue to raise.

Important Quotations:
Umbaugh emphasized what a general education curriculum enables students to do: gain

broad knowledge, learn intellectual and practical skills, understand cultural differences,

evaluate ethical consequences, and make connections across academic disciplines.

Hanstedt references a study done by the Association of American Colleges and

Universities (AACU) in which 91% of employers said they are asking employees to take

on more responsibilities and to use a broader set of skills than in the past. In other words,

job seekers need to know a lot more than just the basic skills required to work within

their fields. Additionally, 88% of employers said that to succeed in their companies,

employees need higher levels of learning and knowledge than they did in the past.

One often-overlooked benefit, regardless of the type of general education program, is

the ability for students to do some discovering. For undecided students in particular,

general education requirements enable them to explore the options available at a

particular school, without the potential of getting off track and wasting creditsand in

turn, wasting money. (Seraphin)

Research Journal Entry #3


Purpose and Outcomes. General Education: Purpose and Outcomes, Washington State


Main Claim:
One of the goals of General Education is to assist students to understand the

characteristic ways of acquiring knowledge in different fields of study, and methods of

verification and communication.(Washington State University)

Common Courses are created to better aid students so that we are familiar with other

areas of study as well gain methods of ways to interact.

Summary of the Source:

This article gives a demonstration on what Washington State University strives to use general

education to do. WSUs general education program helps students to become better critical

thinkers as well as learn different lessons that will help you in life. There are four different

categories that this university aims to strive in with their general education courses. This is to

highlight student potential, give a stable background for students upper division majors, allow

students to gain a broad range of knowledge, and prepare students to be a citizen in the

community.(Washington State University) Under these four different categories the article goes

in depth how the university takes action to achieve this.

Evaluation of the Source:

This is a credible and reliable source. This is an article put together by Washington State

University to educate the public on how they aim their general education courses. This is

relevant because it directly relates to my research question and provides me with many different

views to look at.

Important Quotations:
To function well in the workplace, it is necessary to see beyond it. The General

Education curriculum encourages integration of students anticipated careers within

larger, more encompassing and multiple contexts.(Washington State University)

General Education offers opportunities for personal enrichment and serves a variety of

intellectual, aesthetic, and creative interests.(Washington State University)

General Education prepares students for citizenship in a free society. The curriculum

represents an effort to provide elements of the ever-changing body of valuable common

knowledge. Shared knowledge and values growing out of common educational

experience help to bind society together and make communication possible.(Washington

State University)
The breadth of General Education requirements reflects our historical experience of how

new knowledge has been acquired and how it is likely to be acquired in the

future.(Washington State University)

Research Journal Entry #4


Smith, Beth.The Value of GE or the Answer to "Why Do I Need to Take This Class?". The

Value of GE or the Answer to "Why Do I Need to Take This Class?". Academic Senate for

California Community


Main Claim:

Faculty have many ways to answer the question "why do I need to take this class?" such

that a student is connected to learning throughout the college as well as the workplace

and life.(Smith)
Many students raise the question are general education courses necessary? but

professors should know how to handle this question, simply by telling the student that

when you acquire knowledge through education you are gaining it for the outside world

as well.

Summary of the Source:

This article talks about how students raise the question why do I need to take this class? quite

often.(Smith) Although we may not mean any harm raising this question it puts a lot of pressure

on faculty to come up with an answer says Smith. When we as students raise this question it not

only questions the reasoning for the course but also how it fits into general education courses and

why it is important in that category. Smith also talks about why general education courses are

necessary for students to take. The article explains that we as students do not take the time to

realize what all we have actually gained from a general education course. Many students do not

realize that a lot of the skills we have acquired over time are in result of general education

courses. The article challenges students to sit and go through all of the skills we have gained

from each course. Also what skills has helped us to be qualified for our first jobs.(Smith)

Evaluation of the Source:

This source is very reliable and credible. Beth Smith, vice president of The Academic Senate for

California Community Colleges wrote this article to inform the public on the value of general

education courses. This article was published in 2012 but is still very much relevant today still

serving its purpose which is to educate on the relevance of general education. This source is very

reliable for me because it relates directly to the question I am raising.

Important Quotations:
Today not just students but also people beyond the perimeter of the campus are

questioning why some courses are included in general education (GE), whether the class

in question is art history, algebra, anthropology, or from another discipline. In fact, some

people within the college family may not realize or understand why GE is essential for all

college graduates and why that fact remains especially true today.(Smith)
This quick exercise may help to put GE in perspective: Think of all the skills you have

needed for the various jobs or roles you have held in your life and eliminate all the ones

tied to your major or discipline. Skills that come to mind might include technological

abilities, writing, organizing, prioritizing, working alone and together, understanding

complicated documents such as a human resources manual, a ballot, or a medical

prescription, parenting, patience, communicating with someone from another place,

planning a sprinkler system, navigating workplace cultures, and so on. Now think about

where you learned these skills.(Smith)

All of us know implicitly the value of our courses in the curriculum in general and to

students specifically, but we must be able to articulate that value. How does one answer a

student who asks, "why do I need to take this class?" When teaching a class specifically

for students majoring in that field, the answers are different than if the course is a GE


Research Journal Entry #5


Becker, David.The Time Has Come to Get Rid of General Education Requirements. Logos

Lite.Logos Lite,

Main Claim:

To end this piece, I will end it with this: if our generation can get gay marriage legalized,

then I think we can take the next step and get rid of general education classes. After all,

its our future, not the government's. #StudentsWin (Becker)

If our country can continue to grow making things change that society never expected to

change then why can we not take a stand and eliminate common courses, especially since

it is not anyone's future but ours.

Summary of the Source:

This is a piece written by a college student. This writing aims directly for how most students feel

about general education courses. Becker explains how students of different majors do not

understand why we are forced to take courses that we never aspire to use in life. Becker also

raises a point that the professor's claim they want students to be well rounded but students just

want to be experts in our fields of study. This meaning that we as students do not care about

being well rounded, it is more of adults wanting it for us. Becker raises a good point when he

says that students within undecided majors should take the general education classes to see what

they are interested in doing for the rest of their life but people who know should not be forced to.


Evaluation of the Source:

This piece is written by a student, David Becker, and published of the Logos Lite page. A page

where Iowa Community College publishes their students work. This article is not the most

credited article but it definitely serves its purpose. This piece directly relates to my research

question and is very relevant hitting key points that support my question. Therefore this piece is

reliable for the cause that it is serving.

Important Quotations:
Through the course of time, students for generations have been forced to take these

classes often known as gen eds. They primarily consist of classes very similar to the

ones you take in high school, but once again, you are forced to take these

I am a journalism major, so how do you think I feel about taking classes like Math for

Liberal Arts and Environmental Science? Ill tell you this; its torture. (Becker)
Do you think an author like Stephen Chbosky (screenwriting) or John Green (English)

majored in what they majored in so they could waste their time in a classroom with a

teacher who teaches nothing about what theyre interested in or their major.(Becker)
Now, we as human beings will never be the human calculators that the government

wants us to be.(Becker)
The only time a student should be forced to take general education classes is if he/she is

undecided in his/her major. This way, the students would go into classes where they can

find out what they want to do with the rest of their lives.(Becker)
Nowadays, people will not go to a teacher or a book to find out a question about history.

Teenagers are more likely to do an easy Google search for it.(Becker)

I will tell you from a students perspective. We dont want to be well-rounded. We want

to be experts in our field.(Becker)